We’ll take you on a guided tour, including books, activities, and ways to tie in the alphabet, colors, and patterns, for teaching insects for preschool.
The big deal, educationally speaking, for preschool and kindergarten aged kids is helping them learn the basics like alphabet sounds, colors, shapes, and counting. But if you can cover those basics in a fun way that also opens up other knowledge to them, then the alphabet will be that much more memorable.
If you have more than one age group, such as in a homeschool or daycare setting then you need more flexibility as well. Homeschoolers can learn about insects no matter what age the kids are. Older kids can go into learning about the biological makeup, insect classification, and learning to identify body parts of insects. They can also make a bug collection and learn about specific species, focusing on the differences between insects and other bugs.
As far as little ones go, your goal is to use a science topic like insects while covering the basics – ABC’s, numbers and counting, colors, and similar preschool topics.
Ideas for an Insect Day with Preschoolers:
- Insects starts with I. On a sheet of construction paper write a large capital and lowercase I. Then draw or cut out insects to go around the I. After you’ve finished your picture, hang it on the wall or place it in the child’s alphabet book.
- Sing “The Ants Go Marching One By One.” Avoid singing songs about spiders or other non-insects, because you want to be teaching the scientific concept of an insect as well as having fun with an insect theme.
- Go outside with magnifying glasses and jars to find bugs. Keep them for a few hours to watch what they do, then let them go again (unless they’re eating your garden, then we recommend ruthlessness.) You can keep them for even longer if you find out what they need in their habitat and what foods they like.
- Insects have six legs. Count them, again and again. Insects have three body segments, count and name them, again and again.
- Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar or The Grouchy Ladybug, both by Eric Carle. Count spots and foods and segments and so on as you read. Talk about the colors you see.
- Make a ladybug craft. Cut up an egg carton. Each ladybug is made of one egg carton section, painted red with black dots (for very young children, have the pieces pre-painted with the red and let them add the number of spots they want. Use black pipe cleaners for the legs. Paint one end black for the head and add googly eyes.
- Do a butterfly craft and life cycle activity in one.
- Make a native habitat garden. Preschoolers probably won’t be up to building bat houses or ladybug houses, but they could paint them and help decide on where to hang them.
- Do a fruit fly experiment.
- Eat “ants on a log” for a snack. It’s just celery sticks, filled with peanut butter and dotted with raisins.
- Purchase an ant farm to observe.
- Paint a rock to look like your favorite insect, then place it in your garden.
- Read books about bugs and insects and learn the differences. Talk about what makes an insect and insect. Create a bug (not an insect). On each of his body segments write the things he would need in order to be an insect (6 legs, etc.). Have the little ones do the cutting, gluing, and also trace or write the words.
- If you spend an entire week on I, review the letter over and over and do other coloring sheets on I, read books about I, write a book filled with I words and pictures, practice writing I, and so on.
- You’ve read some stories about insects, now write one together.
- Insects are a major pollinator of flowers. Try this idea on learning the parts of a flower.
- Talk about the colors and shapes you come across in your activities during this theme.
- Talk about camouflage and some tricks insects and other animals use.
- If you are teaching older kids at the same time, coordinate your themes to go together. They won’t be able to do all activities together, but many of these crafts and projects are suitable for all ages, with more reading and writing from the bigger kids.